5 Crucial Aspects Jerome Chang, CEO of BLANKSPACES, Evaluates Before Investing in a Startup

5 Crucial Aspects Jerome Chang, CEO of BLANKSPACES

Investing in startup ventures is both an art and a science. The thrill of identifying potential unicorns and the satisfaction of watching them blossom is all the sweeter when there’s a sharpened process fueling investment decisions. Jerome Chang, an individual whose acumen at the nexus of design and entrepreneurial spirit has proved invaluable, has honed a multi-faceted approach to evaluate startup pitches, combining his architectural precision with a vision for the future of business.

Jerome, an investor and CEO at BLANKSPACES, offers invaluable insights to emerging entrepreneurs as they navigate the intricate landscape of startups. Now, let’s delve into the essential qualities that Jerome seeks when identifying the next big thing in the business world.

Idea Feasibility: The Anchor of Any Venture

In the churning sea of business innovation, a startup’s beacon must be its core idea—distinctive, potent, and, most crucially, viable. When Jerome Chang considers a startup proposition, the foundational idea serves as a sort of ‘pole star’ guiding his assessment. He gravitates towards founders who possess a clear understanding of their market and an original concept that can either fill an apparent void or innovate within an existing sphere.

What Constitutes Idea Feasibility?

It’s not just a novel concept that gets one’s attention; rather, it’s an idea’s potential to survive and thrive in a marketplace. Critical factors include:

  • Market Need: Is there a demonstrated, unserved demand or an emerging need that the startup addresses?
  • Timing: Is the market ripe for the startup’s offerings, or will it be in the foreseeable future?
  • Scalability: Can the business scale to meet increasing demand without a drop in quality or service?

Jerome reminds us that a revolutionary idea is only as good as its ability to be realized.

The Power of a Proven Co-Founder

The co-pilots in startup airplane come under great scrutiny from veteran investors like Jerome. A startup co-founder is not merely another staffer—he or she is a vital part of the entrepreneurial equation, one that must be balanced and tested. The collective experience and synergy of the founding team can often make or break a startup’s trajectory.

Key Elements in Co-Founder Biographies

  • Relevance of Past Work: Experience in a similar market or a relevant business function is a strong indicator of success.
  • Traction Record: Prior startup success is an indicator of an individual’s resilience and problem-solving ability.
  • Complementarity: A diverse skill set among the co-founders enhances adaptability and analytical perspectives.

Startups are convinced by compelling narratives but they are sustained by the stability and innovation of their key personnel, and Jerome can quickly spot when a founder’s past aligns with the startup’s future.

5 Crucial Aspects Jerome Chang, CEO of BLANKSPACES, Evaluates Before Investing in a Startup

Navigating the Competition

Any promising startup is sailing in a sea teeming with competitors. For Jerome, one’s handle on the competitive landscape is a crucial element of startup evaluation. Understand that being first-to-market isn’t as important as being best-suited to maneuver within it. A profound awareness of competitors not only underscores the innovativeness of the startup but also hints at the team’s strategic depth.

Unpacking the Rivalry

  • Direct Competitors: These are easy to spot. What might be harder to gauge is the level of threat they pose and, subsequently, the level of innovation necessary to outpace them.
  • Substitute Products: Often overlooked, these are the sleeper competitors that might change the game without a conventional startup battle.
  • Wider Market Trends: While not direct competitors, trends and macroeconomic factors can greatly influence a startup’s success or failure.

In this digital age, startups are like chess pieces, with moves and countermoves plotting the course of winning the game.

Pro Forma: The Financial North Star

A startup without a roadmap is destined for disarray. The financial projections detailed in the pro forma act as the guiding stars, both for the business’s internal steering and for an investor’s assessment. This financial forecasting tool demonstrates the readiness, expertise, and prudence of a startup team.

Elements of an Effective Pro Forma

  • Market Segmentation: A clear delineation of the startup’s target audiences and the projected market share is essential.
  • Revenue Streams: Are the revenue streams diversified, and are they robustly projected?
  • Sensitivity Analysis: Acknowledgment of risk factors and alternate scenarios can inspire investor confidence in a startup’s preparedness.

Investors like Jerome Chang look for startups that demonstrate an acute understanding of their financial potential.

The Team: A Startup’s Soul

Startups, like any social organism, are heavily dependent on their constituent units. A close-knit, talented, and passionate team can unearth gold from the most barren plots. Jerome Chang’s method of evaluating a startup pays homage to the human element—how well the team can innovate and adapt in a constantly changing market.

Assessing the Team’s Merit

  • Technical Expertise: Hone in on the technical proficiencies of the team. Are they experts in their field?
  • Cultural Fit: The intangible dynamics of a team are often the real underpinning of a startup’s success.
  • Commitment: Do the team members exhibit a genuine commitment to the startup’s success, or is it merely a stepping stone in their career path?

In the final reckoning, it’s the people behind the startup who transform paper plans into profit-making businesses.

Who is Jerome Chang?

demodayLA Jerome ChangRecognized as a thought leader in the world of coworking, Jerome Chang blends his architectural expertise with his entrepreneurial spirit. Jerome is not only the founder of BLANKSPACES, a trailblazing coworking space, but also a still-practicing licensed architect. His contributions extend further as a co-founder of LExC, the League of Extraordinary Coworking Spaces, which is a 501(c)(3) non-profit and represents the first national network of coworking spaces aimed at providing professional, collaborative work environments across the United States.

Jerome’s keen design sensibility was finely honed at Clive Wilkinson Architects (CWA), celebrated globally for designing the office headquarters for luminaries such as Google, Chiat/Day, and Mother Advertising. His design prowess also includes time at SFJones Architects, where he was part of the team responsible for the design of iconic restaurants like Spago Beverly Hills, Nobu Malibu, Hamasaku, and Lucky Strike Bowl; as well as periods at HLM Design, and Kajima.

Educationally, Jerome boasts a diverse and impressive background. He holds a Master of Architecture degree from the esteemed Harvard University and is also an alum of Cornell University, where he earned a Master of Engineering and a Bachelor of Science degree. Jerome’s multifaceted expertise and his ongoing commitment to innovation and community-building through coworking spaces have made him a prominent figure in his field.

Final Thoughts

In the world of dynamic startups, making the right investment calls is crucial, and Jerome’s framework serves as a compass pointing to profitable opportunities. By focusing on feasibility, team dynamics, financial acumen, and competitive understanding, his insights provide a roadmap for aspiring entrepreneurs and investors alike.

Remember, a successful startup investment isn’t just about recognizing a good idea—it’s about understanding the innards of the business. Each of these evaluation pillars is a testament to the thoroughness and foresight needed to propel a startup from obscurity to business prowess. As you voyage through the startup ecosystem, let Jerome’s five-compass points guide your way to sound investment decisions.

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